More previews from the Kelly Tyrannosaur Project.

Kelly TrixFBAs we can see here… not everything tyrannosaur has to be Tyrannosaurus! This classic scene has been depicted many times…And it should have been an awesome one to watch. Triceratops was once depicted as a mud wrestler by Dr. Bob Bakker.

Mike Kelly has been painstakingly putting together a treaty about Tyrannosaurus that wants to embrace everything: from local environments, to the prey, to the extant contemporary fauna and to the different approaches to recreate the image of the über predator… feathers and no feathers,,,. Obviously after my “conversion” through the discovery of  Yutyrannus, there was no way I could go back to do Tyrannosaurus the way I had done all my life. Parsimony reigns in Palaeontology. We will need now hard evidence to see T. rex naked the way it used too be, even if for some  the acceptance of image transition has been and continues to be very hard. And that has included me and Mike himself… But once you make your mind about the new image and understand why,  the only question for the artist from then on is to make the image believable!  I’m really looking forward to see Mike Kelly’s book finished and published. It’s going to be a real achievement at every possible level. Tyr  rowB

Obviously the one showing the Keratin Revolution was not only T. rex… and Triceratops had to have his whole new make-up too! This time blending the hard evidence of hits skin,  I have used a B&W stripped  pattern that I have used before and curiously makes it blend quite well with the surroundings . Keep plugged in for more on the Keratin Revolution in the not so far future!

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Early Jurassic Rewind… Extreme Mexican dinosaurs?!

Heter9Mexico copy

Just a few scraps of Early Jurassic dinosaurs have been found in the Huizachal Canyon, Tamaulipas, Mexico… but thanks to the work of among others  David Fastovsky, René Hernández and Angel Ramírez what is clear now is that among them were Heterodontosaurs and Coelophysids... I have taken this opportunity to fiddle with the current “new look” of heterodontosaurs after Chinese and South African discoveries (Pegomastax et al)… and I must admit I was amazed by the wonderful, artful and  over the top reconstruction of Tianyulong in the new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in NY, that has taken care to vindicate early ornithischians forever… so I started to think: what could I do to go more extreme than that? After all this was Mexico! What if a really angry heterodontosaur in full display would have a modern porcupine pale by comparison… fangs added to the threatening show?

Heterodontosaurus might have been a small animal, but Coelophysis would have to think twice to try to take a bite. Please note that based on what little we know of Early Jurassic  Mexico, the reconstructions here are merely speculative, specially in regards to the detail… both animals appearances are  based on what we know from others.Who says Palaeontology can’t have a sense of humour… even as deadly serious as this is?Hetero Rage copy

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The Mexican Dinosaur Eden(Part 1)

Coahuilaceratops B

As I was mentioning in the previous blog, even as fragmentary as the fossil material is most of the time in Mexico, the Cuenca de Parras, Coahuila, specifically this time  Cerro del Pueblo in the north of Mexico, has produced exceptional specimens like  the  chasmosaurine  Coahuilaceratops here, with their thick, enormous horns that shared space with Kritosaurus herds, one of the first Mexican dinosaurs I saw on display  at the Museo de Geología, although given that the research was still not complete (and is still isn’t) the name may change any minute!.

This is a typical North American dinosaur 72 million year old semi-coastal landscape and you can appreciate the complexity of the mural, long time in the making! … even with Trödontids courting in the foreground (we know only teeth, but they were there for sure). For a change I’ve tried to avoid theropod-onithopod confrontation! But that won’t be the case in the next one…Coahuilacaretops is also going to be a prominent protagonist of the forthcoming Dinosaur rEvolution event… mostly thanks to Robert Gaston‘s excellent sizeable cast that will be featured in it! More to come…

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Working on another Mexican enigma…

Parras BLOGDuring one of my visits to vaults of the Museo de Geología, one of the fossils that impressed me most was this (still unnamed) hadrosaur muzzle and beak.  Still partly encased in the stone matrix, it gave me a truly realistic image of an almost perfectly preserved, recently deceased animal. Wish I had a cast!ParrasB Muzzle

It is not until now (after my consultations with René Hernández and Angel Ramírez that I decided to have a go to it and rehearse some new colour patterns… I know some people will find the patterns over the top, but I still find the somewhat believable. After all a hippopotamus  has bright pink zones of its body… and most definitively doesn’t have colours vision (as I asume all dinosaurs had!…)

This hadrosaur has been located in Parras, Coahuila and is similar to Edmontosaurus, and probably  7.6 meters long.. The rest of the skeleton has not been found. Still it is a beauty and has a lot of character!

More for Parras still to come… Parras, Coahuila is also known as the Mexican Dinosaur Eden!

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Cretaceous México: Magnapaulia.

Mexico! BMore than a  decade ago I was at the entrails of  the Instituto de Geologia Museum in Mexico City and René Hernández was laying on my lap an enormous and very heavy femur head of a gigantic hadrosaur. The  size was so impressive that it could have been mistaken for an Apatosaurus! But no, it was yet another gigantic lambeosaur found by René’s team in the north of Mexico, land of  army clashes with the cartel… even in those days. Scientists trying to excavate in Saltillo or Coahuila have to deal with the terrible scourge of that horrifying “war on drugs” that has been  Mexico’s disease for so many years, to do their work.

Nevertheless… the search has continued unabated… I had to pay tribute to the Mexican palaeontological teams efforts and  some of those immense lambosaurine hadrosaurs from Mexico… this time in the shape of of a herd of Magnapaulia being chased by some Albertosaurus … I have used a familiar scenario from another old project that never quite congealed in my eyes… so I modified the scenario and finished it thanks to the help (again) of Angel Ramírez (that was very specific about the kind of flowery, Magnolia semi tropical vegetation) and René Hernández himself, I have come to a final product that I am more or less satisfied with. There’s always room for improvement!

Note the crest of Magnapaulia (still mostly hypothetical, but based on the fragmentary remains we have) and the very tall hip spines, so characteristic of all these Mexican hadrosaurs. There are more murals to come in the next weeks…

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Cretaceous Mexico… the saga continues!

VelafronsBlog

The mid-sized, 6 meter long hadrosaur Velafrons  attacked by a group of indeterminate dromeosaurs … Velafrons is one of the most complete lamboeosaurine hadrosaurs at the level of fossil remains in Mexico. As stated in the previous post, even if fragmentary the Mexican paleo fauna is rather interesting. Velafrons shared its environment with many other gregarious dinosaurs including Kritosaurus and Coahuilaceratops.

I owe Angel Ramírez a good deal in recreating this scene. It is thanks to him that Velafrons‘ ecosystem is more precise: a coastal environment  with plants like  Strelitzia or Phytolaca… I like palaeontologists that are a pain regarding scientific details! Lots of corrections and negotiations to get to the result  you are seeing here…! And by the way… I’m leaving Magnapaulia, Coahuilaceratops, Kritosaurus, Labocania  and some ornithomimids for the next instalments.

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Cretaceous Mexico…here we go!

Huehue MOD BlogThe Santonian of Michoacán, México, 83 million years ago… A six meter long proto-hadrosaur Huehuecanauhtlus tiquichensis is harassed by a gang of, still unnamed, feral Tanycolagreus-like theropods. What an opportunity to get to basics with some of the wonderful and overlooked prehistoric Mexican fauna!  Note the overly tall hip and tail spines emphasised  in Angel Ramírez‘s reconstructive labour… an apparent, puzzling characteristic of most Mexican primitive and advanced  hadrosaurs.  Tanycalogreus

The theropods are speculative. They are mostly two or three meter long . I started trying the scene with some dromeosaurs, but the evidence for them is scant in this location… in fact, I  have an alternative  version of this artwork with a couple of dromeosaurs attacking the Huehuecanauhtlus (“Old Duck” in Nahuatl)!  Most of what you see here is based on the fragmentary material together with all the available evidence, including volcanic landscape and arid terrain with fallen branches and dead tree trunks. I have followed  the guidance of René Hernández and Angel Alejandro Ramírez, whose help has been priceless… after all they are the source! They are still digging out more evidence and  new material is constantly coming to light. The task now is to isolate species and name them.  Many have been already… and the next effort will be about the gigantic lambeosaurs and  sundry hadrosaurs, one of which tails was prepared by René himself! I have recently posted pictures of René Hernández uncovering and preserving a massive hadrosaur tail from Saltillo.

It;s been long overdue that I started  a pictorial saga of the Mexican dinosaurs… and now I have the opportunity!

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Dinosaur Skin and Survival… the new coming project.

Tarbosaurus and Talarurus… where ends meet in  the  new exhibition. In association with Gondwana Studios… the next Dinosaur rEvolution will be coming from as far as Tasmania! After…

Source: Dinosaur Skin and Survival… the new coming project.

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